Philippines: online cockfighting eats into lottery sales

Spectators are banned from live cockfighting under Covid-19 measures.
Spectators are banned from live cockfighting under Covid-19 measures.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has seen lower sales since online cockfighting took off in 2020.

The Philippines.- Betting on online cockfights, known as e-sabong, has rocketed in the Philippines since cockpits were closed to spectators at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although its legal status remains unclear, it seems it may be eating into the country’s lottery sales.

Royina Garma, general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, said the charity agency’s revenue collection had dropped by 57.68 per cent, from P44.02bn (US$92bn) in 2019 to P18.63bn (US$39m) last year.

He said: “As far as I know, cockpit is legal because they have permits from local governments. But online cockfights are illegal.

In the Philippines, the cockfighting industry is believed to be worth just over US$1bn per year, according to the country’s Games and Amusement Board.

The government appears to have plans to legalise the activity. Andrea Domingo, Philippines Amusement and Gambling Corporation chairwoman, said in December that she hoped the Philippines could become a leader in online cockfighting.

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